We asked an expert if you can actually be addicted to lip balm
Turns out you can’t
For some people, leaving the house without lip balm is like forgetting an umbrella when it’s raining, or going for a hike with no shoes. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re addicted to it and there’s no going back.
You feel the twang of dryness hit you, you’re not chapped, but it just doesn’t quite feel moist enough. You realise you’ve left your Carmex at home and your heart drops. “HAS ANYONE GOT ANY LIP BALM??” comes the cry, followed by a rush of girls reaching into their bags and pulling out an array of products.
But where has this “addiction” come from? Why do we feel that we really need to reapply multiple times a day? We need to know once and for all, is lip balm addiction a real thing?
We spoke to a dermatologist, the aptly named Jules Lipoff, about our obsession with the product and whether it’s even necessary.
He said: “I don’t think that ‘addiction’ to lip balm is possible, it’s a habit. I think many behaviours can be conditioned, and there are probably societal and cultural factors that make certain behaviours more likely to appear in one gender vs. another.”
This is certainly the case as boys are rarely seen using lip balm to the extent that girls do. Advertising markets these products towards a female audience, as girls are more likely to care about the image of soft lips, due to society’s beauty expectations for women.
However, the idea that our lips have become used to the additional moisture on a daily basis and therefore develop a dependancy, is untrue. Jules says: “Lip balm is a moisturiser and can be helpful for dry lips. But it is not necessary for anyone without dry lips.”
Although marketing has pushed us towards this belief, Jules clarifies that “there really are no ‘essential’ products”.
So does this mean we should all stop using it? Is it bad for us? Jules says: “If it’s just a plain moisturiser, there’s probably no harm except to your bank account. If there are any additives (like fragrance), it is possible it could trigger allergic reactions.”
So there you have it. You’re probably not addicted to lip balm. Obviously if you genuinely have dry lips then you need it and no one’s going to stop you, but to those of you claiming that you’re “soooo addicted” to lip balm are probably being manipulated by your cultural cravings.